Half a century ago, stock markets were mostly analog spaces.

At their core, trading floors were the site where, in frenzied activity, brokers and jobbers met to execute their client's orders. Through their bodies and conversations, they made finance.

Today, global stock markets are thoroughly technological places.

Shares once traded in hours or days are exchanged in microseconds through distributed algorithmic systems running near the speed of light.


Made these



Automating Finance explores the emergence of electronic markets by focusing on the work of the computer and telecommunications engineers that built the first generations of real-time technologies in British and American stock exchanges. 

Rather than focusing on managers, brokers, jobbers, and market-makers, Automating Finance foregrounds the stories of the armies of invisible workers that made the automation of trading possible.


For this, Automating Finance focuses on the history of the London Stock Exchange, one of the prime centers for global finance and once a site of a dense and rich trading floor culture, and the USA’s National Market System.

Through interviews with some of the key members of the LSE and NYSE’s original teams of technologists, Automating Finance shows how the transformation of markets was a gradual process involving incremental innovations over decades, from convenient price visualization systems that didn’t challenge the primacy of the trading floor…

…to organizational innovations that allowed technical experts to populate the Exchange’s systems, culture, and management over time. 

As Automating Finance shows, slowly but surely, these technologists made the trading floor irrelevant, placing screens and electronic order management systems at the center of the trade and finance at large. 

Praise for Automating Finance

Automating Finance "conveys extremely well precisely how modern markets are produced by multiple moral, political, and organizational struggles”

Nahoko Kameo, American Journal of Sociology

A “fascinating study of the digitization of stock exchanges in both the UK and the US”

Taylor Spears, European Journal of Sociology

“business historians, especially those interested in automation, market structure, and financialization, will find much of value in Pardo-Guerra’s work”

Sean Vanatta, Business History Review

"Pardo-Guerra achieves the difficult task of covering a vast literature to trace a detailed history of automation in financial markets in the US and the UK"

M Kerem Coban, LSE Review of Books